Not My 2005 Albums List

So yeah, it’s been pretty quiet here lately while I’m working on that year-end album list. It’s always a bit of a struggle to write about music when your music writing sucks.

But I thought I might as well throw anyone who’s bored a couple of bones in the meantime, while I agonize obsessively over the internal ordering of my top 12. (Yes, 12.)

Here are a few albums which aren’t in there. I’m fully aware that lots of other people love these albums, but for various reasons I’m unable to buy into the hype myself. No attempt has been made in the writing to spare myself any flaming – feel free to enjoy yourself in the comments if you think I’m a grumpy jaded old hatah. :)

  • Wolf Parade – Apologies To The Queen Mary: It’s not that this is a bad album – Dear Sons And Daughters Of Hungry Ghosts only narrowly missed the cut for my 2004 Songs To Thank MP3 Blogs For list, and You Are A Runner And I Am My Father’s Son is pretty good – but it simply doesn’t inflame me with enough passion to warrant a ranking on my list. Even though it’s objectively quite pleasant, I’d be hard-pressed to summon up much enthusiasm for it in a review without having to fake it. It might be something about music with the “Isaac Brock touch” that everyone else likes but I don’t – I’ve never been a Modest Mouse fan and I never understood the acclaim for The Moon And Antarctica either. Apologies To The Queen Mary is better than that album, but I still don’t feel any desire to listen to it very often, and when I do it fades into the background quite quickly.
  • Bloc Party – Silent Alarm: I bought this on the strength of She’s Hearing Voices (another close contender in my 2004 MP3 Blogs song list) but I now think that track was deceptively innovative. The first half of the album just sounds like reheated 90s Britpop and the second half a mishmash of various post-punk influences which move neither my heart, my head nor my feet. There are 2 exceptions – Price Of Gas and Luno have a touch of frenetic beautiful chaos to them – but 3 good songs isn’t what I normally buy albums to hear.
  • Magic Numbers – Magic Numbers: After a couple of listens my only abiding impression is of a lot of tweeness and winsome crooning and easy but utterly forgettable melodies. I think I’d probably have liked this when I was 16 or 17 but I guess my tastes must have moved on since then.
  • Antony And The Johnsons – I Am A Bird Now: I might well be totally alone here but this one really does absolutely nothing for me. How can something so overblown and overdramatic be so deathly dull?
  • Serena Maneesh – Serena Maneesh: I can’t disagree with the reviewers who say this is strongly influenced by MBV’s Isn’t Anything. Serena Maneesh’s self-titled does indeed remind me of that album except, that is, for one small but rather substantial difference – I don’t fall asleep after the first song of Isn’t Anything.
  • Isolee – Wearemonster: I know the omission of this (especially when you soon see which other dance music albums I did include!) is a huge admission of dance music plebness, but I just haven’t listened to it an atmosphere conducive to appreciating it yet. What I gather from the reviews is that this album’s all about the details, and I guess those must be eluding me when I listen to it on my commute. I’m not writing this album off yet – it’s very much loved by people whose taste and genre knowledge I hold in high esteem – but until I take the time to listen to it in a better context than an iPod on a bus, I just don’t think I’ll be able to see the light.

Okay, flame away! :)


  1. I don’t hate Wolf Parade! As I said, it’s okay but it just doesn’t give me mojo. Oops, heh, re: Magic Numbers. Write a review to convince me otherwise lah! :D

  2. I’d be with you there on Silent Alarm and The Magic Numbers.

    I’m not absolutely crazy about Appologies To Queen Mary either. It’s good but I don’t feel compelled to listen to it every day. It’d probably still make my top 12 though. It’s been a bit of a weak year for music compared to last year.

    Still, haven’t pirated everything in the Pitchfork and Stylus top 20’s yet. I’ll have to get busy!

  3. Heh – I said the same thing about not feeling the Wolf Parade. It’s decent, but given the hype I thought it was going to be something even more.

  4. to be honest i don’t even know enough of TMN to write a review, it’s all based on that one silly song! :P say it together now: music rut. sigh.

  5. Benny: Well, if I’m listening to Serena Maneesh at least I’ll die peacefully in my sleep…

    ci’en: One silly song can be deceiving! Based on one silly song I bought that knn Bloc Party! Why music rut? You seem to hang out with way more people who love music than I do!

  6. Oh so that’s how you feel is it? My love for music’s not good enough for you eah? Fine! Just for that I’m not going to let you borrow my CD of William Shatner’s Has Been.
    You f**king die! I’ve set my phaser to maximum beyotch!

  7. Alec, surely you know that as long as I still have access to that wondrous Aslan CD, all my problems in life are but sweetness and light.

    I’m not scared yet. Where’s yer big gun?

  8. hey i like the magic numbers..but only on days when i’m feeling optimistic. i wonder if i can take a stab at what’s IN your top 10 list.. probably a lot different from mine.

  9. t: I’m still working on the top 10 list, but hopefully I’ll manage to post it before 2006! If you wanna make some guesses in the meantime feel free. :)

  10. Hmmm… I posted a comment here a couple of days ago, but hasn’t seem to have been added.

    I really like at least half of I Am A Bird Now, the others are okay. I don’t think it’s dull at all. However, I’d probably describe their previous self-titled album as that, with the exception of “Rapture” which I think is far from dull.

  11. OK, I know it’ll have Calexico, Sufjan Stevens, Kanye West and maaaaybe Run The Road 1 and Art Brut. Am I warm?

  12. yay! this could be fun. based on what i’ve read/heard so far i’m guessing there be a lot of post-rock/indierock stuff..

    1 broken social scene – broken social scene
    2 of montreal – sunlandic twins
    3 a silver mt. zion – horses in the sky
    4 silver jews – tanglewood numbers
    5 sigur ros – takk
    6 engineers – engineers
    7 mew – and the glass handed kites
    8 decemberists – picaresque
    9 low – the great destroyer
    10 architecture in helsinki – in case we die
    11 the new pornographers – twin cinema
    12 m83 – before the dawn heals us

  13. Takk won’t be in there – I’ve heard it and I’ve heard of the band. M83 might not be in there on account of me having heard of them, but I’ve never heard that album, so it’s 50/50. Really glad to hear you slating Anthony and the Johnsons though. I haven’t heard their album either, and I already don’t like them.

  14. Tee hee, this *is* fun!

    James has an unfair advantage because I bet Alec whines to him all the time about the newest shit music his girlfriend’s subjecting him to. But even so, he’s only got 1.5 guesses correct!

    Russ: I really wanted to like Antony and the Johnsons, and was fully expecting to based on the reviews I’d read. Then I listened to the album and it left me completely cold. When it got nominated for the Mercury prize a couple months later I thought it would never win given competition like MIA, but oh well.

    t: Only 2 out of 12, I’m afraid. But not necessarily because I think the rest are crap, it’s just that I don’t usually rush to listen to new albums by bands I already know unless I’m a huge fan. So since only 3 bands in that list were new to me this year, I haven’t actually bothered to listen to a number of the other albums yet.

    Matt: Silly boy. You *are* aware I love big band music, right? Plus that mildly famous band, Radiohead! Actually, I totally didn’t consider the M83 album because I thought it was a 2004 release. But thinking back, I don’t think I’d have included it in a list anyway. It’s quite nice but not stunning.

  15. James, you little cheater. The only reason he got one right is because I told him explicitly ‘X’ is one of Michelle’s favorite albums this year.
    I’m even more insulted by the other guesses. He’s simply taken a list of what’s on my music player and decided, “obviously Alec didn’t choose this music himself, so it must be stuff Michelle has instructed him to listen to.”
    I have my own opinions too God damn it!

  16. Yeah take that James, Alec *does* have his own opinions on music! I’ll have you know I have absolutely no part in choosing any of his Irish trad albums! And I didn’t choose the Led Zeppelin or Chris Isaak either.

  17. Well I do remember asking you about the Led Zeppelin album and you giving it the green light because it scored highly on Metacritic and the Chris Issak album was from before we were going out but yeahh, yeahhh, I’m out there doing my own thing. I read Pitchfork yesterday.

  18. aw shucks.. only 2? well i kinda just picked the more obvious albums that you might be into.. to be honest i’ve only heard about 3/4 of that list.

    guess you’re not so predictable after all :)

  19. t: I only mention about 2% of the music I listen to here, so it would be pretty impossible to pinpoint my tastes based on the blog alone. There’s much much MUCH more great music in the world than just indierock and postrock, and yay for that. :)

    BTW, since you love house, can you shed any light on the Isolee album for me?

  20. Alec & Mich: Amidst all this beautiful domestic bliss :P, Fr. John says hi. :) I saw him at St. Cecilia & St. Anselm just before I flew to Rome on 20th December.

    And seeing as you mentioned big band music… I got to go swing dancing yesterday! Joy of joys! Started off by listening to a free performance at the RFH, then ended off by dancing with the regular 100 Club/Jitterbugs crowd at the Crown & Anchor who were a little startled by this random Chinese girl running up to them saying, “I remember you! I was last dancing in 2002!!” I’ll definitely do my best for SEA Jam ’06… if only the crowd were as open and friendly back home!

    And Mich, got you a Christmas gift from London! It ain’t much but thought you’d like it anyway. :) I’ll be back next year so you’ll have to wait for a bit.

  21. no can do… i haven’t heard the isolee album. as far as electronic/idm goes, i only listen to selected albums. its usually just DJ mixes or stuff i hear at clubs. i’m getting into it more so i might just check out isolee, but indiepop is still my first love.

    hey dom! :)

  22. good to know that the new tatu album still hasn’t been ruled out. ha ha! take that, bloc potty!

  23. Dominique: Aw, I can’t wait to see my Xmas present! Sounds like you’re having a brilliant time, and the image of you randomly scaring lindy people is rather endearing. :)

    Supertsar: I’m sad to say that the tatu album must have slipped through my radar this year. Did they stop lezzing up or what?

  24. “I’m sad to say that the tatu album must have slipped through my radar this year. Did they stop lezzing up or what?”

    It’s been a good few months since I saw the music video but I think it was about one of the chicks getting off with a guy, but he turned out to be a bad guy, and the other girl had to save her. So I think the message is that the tAtU chicks are trying to send out is that they would sleep with me but only once. But I’d probably have to be ripped like the guy in the video.

  25. Is “ripped” some sort of Irish slang for “hot” or do the tatu chicks inflict actual physical violence on the guy? Either way, I now want to see this video.

  26. Michelle, I’m shocked that you don’t know what ‘ripped’ means. Even I knew that, and I don’t know half the amount of slang that you do.

    Oh, and I’m back in Singapore! :)

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